Friday, March 04, 2011
Autumn Racing Carnival 2011 – Week 4 – Australian Guineas
We Can Say It Now – classy New Zealand filly
Only two Group One races this weekend, the Australian Guineas at Flemington and the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm in Sydney.
Both are 1600 metre races, the Guineas being for three year olds and the Chipping Norton being a standard weight for age competition.
The Australian Guineas has an intriguing field, with several of the top contestants being from other states and in one case, from New Zealand. The West Australian colt Playing God seems the top pick. He has a picket fence against his name in the form guide, and a number of those wins have been in open company against older horses. Like wise the classy New Zealand filly We Can Say It Now aiming to emulate Miss Finland who won in 2007, one of the few fillies to ever win this race. The other class filly is Southern Speed from South Australia. Only lightly raced, she has remained unbeaten in all three of her starts to date. Local hopefuls who are in with a chance are Bullbars, who won his last start the CS Hayes Stakes after running second to Enjin Number Nine in the Manfred Stakes, Spirited Eagle, who ran second to Bullbars in the CS Hayes and Enjin Number Nine, who though disappointing in that race after starting favourite, is worth another chance. Anacheeva who won the Caulfield Guineas in Spring has shown none of his former brilliance this autumn, but blinkers may make a difference.
It’s a very open race with no clear cut winner as has been the case in the majority of the recent Group One races, ie Sepoy in the Blue Diamond and More Joyous in the Futurity and of course Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes.
The Chipping Norton has the usual contingent of Sydney middle distance runners such as Theseo, now getting a bit long in the tooth, Danleigh, Zavite, Centennial Park and Vision And Power, as well as stayers resuming for the autumn carnival – Descarado and Maluckyday who ran second in the 2010 Melbourne Cup. However, all the above will have to beat the brilliant mare, Melito who thrashed them in the Apollo Stakes a fortnight ago. She has not run over 1600 metres before, so it will be a test of her ability to stay.
As previously mentioned Sepoy took out the Blue Diamond Stakes last week in sensational fashion, winning by four lengths. He will probably contest the Golden Slipper in April and could well complete the rare double. More Joyous continued her winning ways in the Futurity outracing the fast finishing Whobegotyou – an obvious quinella. Also I must mention old favourite Heart of Dreams who won the St George Stakes, proving he’s still got what it takes and is not a spent force.
Next weekend the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup are scheduled, but I won’t have much time to write about them or even see them on television as I’m off to the Port Fairy Music Festival, so expect blog posts about that rather than racing.
I’ll try and get to a TAB to watch the Newmarket where Black Caviar will be out to make history carrying 58kg – a record weight for a mare- and surely winning her tenth straight race and third Group One.